Driffield travelled over to Sandal for their first away league fixture of the season, on a day when the temperature in Wakefield was bumping thirty degrees and muggy. Water breaks were a regular feature in such difficult conditions
Driffield started the game facing the Sandal slope, and got straight into action. After just five minutes, Rix found his way through on the right side of the pitch, getting close to the line before being held up. Adam Brankley was on hand to take the off-load and came round to close the gap to the posts. Grant converted. S 0 – 7 D
Stunned by the early score, Sandal started to work their way down the park, keeping the ball alive until they too found a gap out wide, and the winger went in at the comer, too wide for the conversion. S 5 – 7 D
They repeated the trick less than five minutes later, again too wide out to make the kicker’s job easy. S 10 – 7 D
Driffield came back into the fray, grinding their way up the slope until, once again, Rix exploited the smallest of gaps in the centres to tear away for the line and the score. Grant converted. S 10 – 14 D
Driffield now had the bit between their teeth, and piled the pressure on. Camped just five metres out, eventually the constant pressure told when Brankley broke left from a maul and dived for the line. Grant converted. S 10 – 21 D.
Sandal knew they had a battle on, and focussed their energies. They were aided and abetted by Driffield, who started to drop off tackles. This gave a marauding Sandal forward the opportunity to go wide outside, and come round to close the gap for the conversion. S 17 – 21 D Half time.
With a good team-talk, and the benefit of the slope, Driffield started brightly giving Grant a straightforward penalty shot. S 17 – 24 D
They turned the screws and pounded the Sandal line until the defence could hold no more, and Adam Brankley picked up from the back of the scrum to dive for the line and the hat-trick, but the conversion was missed. S 17 – 29 D.
With the game firmly in their grasp, Driffield started giving away unnecessary penalties, allowing Sandal to work their way back up the park. This gave Sandal two converted tries in quick succession, and the lead with less than five minutes to go. S 31 – 29 D
But Adam Brankley was not done yet. With just three minutes to go, starting at the half-way, he tore through the middle pursued by Sandal’s backs, with team members on his shoulder to take the off-load. Eschewing the chance to off-load, he went for the line and made it, allowing an easy conversion by Grant, and claiming the lead back. S 31 – 36 D
Sandal came straight back at Driffield, making their way up the park, finally sending a penalty kick to touch for the inevitable catch-and-drive from less than 10 out. But they fumbled the lineout and knocked it on, and the final whistle went giving Driffield a hard-fought win, and a bonus point.
The win lifts Driffield to mid-table.
- Try – Adam Brankley, Conversion – Kalani Grant 0-7
- Sandal Try 5-7
- Sandal Try 10-7
- Try – Robbie Rix, Conversion – Kalani Grant 10-14
- Adam Brankley Try, Conversion – Kalani Grant 10-21
- Sandal Converted Try 17-21
- Penalty – Kalani Grant 17-24
- Try – Adam Brankley 17-29
- Sandal Converted Try 24-29
- Sandal Converted Try 31-29
- Try – Adam Brankley, Conversion – Kalani Grant 29 -36